• Media in Saudi Arabia: the challenge for female journalists

      Aljuaid, Kholoud (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2020-07)
      This study explores the role of women journalists in Saudi Arabia and provides more understanding of the challenges and barriers that working in the media presents for them. There are also a number of opportunities that may not have been fully recognised and where these women can make a difference. Against a background of reforms in Saudi Arabia, resulting from measures being put in place to comply with international human rights laws as well as a need for the country to utilise the economic benefits of a female workforce, the role of women in the media is increasing. The social changes that are taking place may not fit well with a more conservative society but female journalists are showing that they have been facing up to these challenges. Using a qualitative approach, this study sought to elicit the perceptions of a range of women working in the media and also interviewed male editors to gain their perspective on females working in their domain. The study revealed that the women chose journalism as a career because it was an area in which they excelled and which they very much enjoyed, despite numerous challenges they encountered. Although they had faced disapproval from family initially, they managed to win over parents and husbands once they started to have their work published. In more recent years the universities have been establishing media and communication courses for women and this is giving more support to journalism being a career choice. Nevertheless, it was clear that women were restricted by their gender in having access to influential chief editor positions, which were reserved for males. It was also found that the male editors approved of women working in journalism and spoke highly of the quality of their work. However, this may also be because the women open up the readership of newspapers by writing articles targeting other women and thus increase sales. In addition, some newspapers are found to be paying much lower rates to women than to their male counterparts. Reasons for this were given as being the costs of employing women, who often need drivers, cannot interview males, are not permitted to go unescorted, need a separate workplace environment, and who have maternity rights.